Manchester

Ian Evatt assesses MK Dons & Peterborough United as Bolton League One promotion credential tests

Wanderers head to Stadium:MK this evening aiming to secure back-to-back wins in League One. They will seeking to build on the three points gained versus Charlton Athletic last time out.

The Whites had supposed to be in action last Saturday on the road against Cheltenham Town. However, all football was postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II as a mark of respect.

They will be in action this evening however when games resume. It is the start of a big week for Bolton as they take on the Dons before being due to entertain Peterborugh United on Saturday at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The Dons finished third last season, while Posh were relegated from the Championship back to League One. Both sides will have aspirations of being in the hunt for promotion this campaign.

Evatt has previously spoken of at least being in the top 10 of the division by the end of September being a good position for Bolton to be in. He believes the next two games will be a good guide of their promotion aspirations.

He said: “Come the end of September I think it will be a really good guide as to where we are. If we can be in the top 10, not the top six, then I think we will be well-poised.

We have had some difficult games. We are one of only a couple of teams to have taken points off Ipswich, we have beaten Wycombe two teams that I think people will expect to be up there and then lost to Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday.

This next two games are against teams that, again, you expect them to be in and around the promotion spots. It will be a pretty good guide.

“There are probably 10-12 teams who fancy their chances of being in that top six and it is anyones guess as to how that looks.

You have the ones like Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday who have spent ridiculous and ginormous sums of money, so the pressure will be pretty much all on them.

The others are all in a pool. There will be ups and downs for everyone. I dont think the points needed will be the same as last year, I think that was a freak. Mid seventies will probably get top six this season, so that is what we have to target.”

Last season at Stadium:MK, Wanderers suffered a 2-0 loss with a defeat that dented their faint hopes of reaching the League One play-offs in a charge during the second half of the campaign. It was a Dons squad that boasted the likes of Troy Parrott, Scott Twine and Harry Darling.

It has been a big summer of change for Liam Manning's side with 14 signings made and the aforementioned trio moving on to pastures new and are now all at Championship clubs. Evatt believes the loss of the trio will be a huge loss to the Dons.

But he feels it does not matter if it is a good time to play the Dons or not with the new look squad not yet replicating the results of last season as he expects a tough encounter. He feels his side have learned from their experiences there last season, where goals from Mo Eisa and Twine ultimately proved the difference, though Amadou Bakayoko hit the bar for the visitors.

He said: If you are going to challenge in this division you will have to beat everyone somewhere down the line so, personally, it is irrelevant to me whether they are bedded in or not.

It is still a difficult game and we know they will look the same and try to do the same things as they did last season.

Obviously when you lose Parrott, Darling, Twine, that is a huge loss to any football club. They have signed some very good players to replace them and they might need some time to settle down but we have to pay them full respect because they are a very, very good team.

We need to put in the same sort of performance that we did against Charlton where we are on the front foot, we are aggressive, full of energy and play well on transition, which you always need to do at MK.

They were impressive for the first half an hour but I think we got it massively wrong with our pressing strategy. The one thing we have improved upon massively this season is our work out of possession and I think come Tuesday MK will see a different animal.

We hit the bar, Baka had a great chance, and it was all us until we gifted them a second goal. So as much as they were very good for that opening half an hour, I did feel the result was self-inflicted, to a large extent.

We have learned and improved a great deal since then, so we are looking forward to it.”

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